What do you consider as your most important contribution?
I would say helping to extend the work of the Movement and
increase the number of beneficiaries we assist effectively and
What have you not been able to achieve?
I would have liked to adjust the relief culture in our
National Societies and at the Federation, and mobilized more
unearmarked resources for general capacity building.
What was your most rewarding moment in the last seven
The attainment of permanent UN observer status was the most
gratifying moment, especially given that the ICRC and some
members of the Security Council were not so favourable at the
time. To achieve this level of international recognition, most
National Societies went to their foreign ministries to promote
the initiative. With all these people acting on a shared
commitment, it revealed the potential of what it means to work
as a Federation. And if that kind of energy can be further
harnessed and unleashed as a power of good, it is an
As former CEO of the Canadian Red Cross you had to
respond to the investigation into the distribution of
hiv-infected blood. What was your response?
I was very involved in my work, and it was disturbing at times
to have to deal with what was going on in Canada. I did go
back to testify voluntarily to help set the record straight
and provide some balance in the argumentation. It bothers me
even today. We did the best job we could at the time. Some
things could have been done differently, but with the
information that was available we did what we thought was best
and the record shows that.
How would you describe relations with the ICRC over the
last seven years?
Generally speaking relations were good. It is true that as the
Federation developed its capacity, some of our achievements
caused strains in our relations. But I would like to emphasize
that when a problem arose senior management on both sides met
to discuss and find a solution. There will undoubtedly be
difficult moments in the future, particularly when you start
looking at the statutes of the Movement. In this area, I think
there are some things that the Federation should be doing,
which are currently in the domain of the ICRC. Overall, I
think relations will remain good and cooperation at many
levels will strengthen.
What do you see as the weaknesses and strengths of the
I think the name Movement is a weak point. I remember when it
was agreed upon. Nobody really liked it, but it was impossible
at the time to come up with something better that could be
easily translated into four languages. The strengths are the
symbols, the values, the principles, the Geneva Conventions,
our history, our network, our volunteer base with the
professional support. And the worldwide profile.